Currently, there are no official employment numbers for the state’s rapidly expanding frac sand industry. But the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, using job-site estimates developed by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, found that when existing mines and those being built are fully operating, the industry will employ about 2,780 people — a sizeable number given the state’s overall luckluster job picture.
The number of manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin had fallen in recent years, from nearly 600,000 in 1998 to just over 450,000 today. But manufacturing still accounts for about 16 percent of all state jobs. And in the past year, it has begun to rebound.
Frac sand fever has hit much of west-central Wisconsin, catching residents and local governments by surprise when demand for sand suddenly soared and permit applications began to pour in. The number of Wisconsin frac sand mining operations has more than doubled in the past year.
Walker’s official calendars from his first 13 months in office chronicle these and scores more hours he spent building credentials with conservatives in Wisconsin and across the nation. The second installment in a three-part series.
Last year, Gov. Scott Walker crisscrossed the nation, breaking fundraising records and netting about half his donations from out of state. But his calendars show the consequences of fame and fundraising. The first in a three-part series.
It’s all over but the blaming. The state Legislature’s 2011-12 regular session has careened to a close, with both parties accusing the other of blocking progress on Wisconsin’s number-one issue: job creation.
Spectrum Brands began its successful quest for a $4 million award from the state without revealing its identity or that it was already based in Wisconsin, public records show. Its hired consultant also suggested that the backlash over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill made his unidentified client reluctant to pick Madison — where it was, in fact, already located.
On Feb. 2, 2011, the Legislature voted to exempt a little patch of land, less than a mile down the road from the Green Bay Packers’ Lambeau Field, from the state’s wetlands rules, once called “the strongest wetland protections in the country.” The bill, passed on World Wetlands Day, will let up to three acres of the so-called Bergstrom wetland be filled with no additional permits or process.
Democrats reacted sharply to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to call the Legislature into special session to take up a slate of measures meant to put Wisconsin “back to work.” The Assembly’s minority leader pegged most bills as “payoffs to special interests” that do nothing to create jobs.